Creamy, sweet and potassium-rich, bananas are native to the tropical regions of South and South East Asia.They have a high sugar content, making them the perfect choice for a breakfast boost in smoothies or on top of yoghurt, cereals, muffins and porridge.Also good in snacks , desserts, and Indian sweets like halwa. Bananas pair well with rich chocolate and crunchy nuts and can also be pureed to be used along with flour to make flat breads for dinner.
How to choose Bananas :
- If you are planning to consume them immediately choose the ones that are vibrant yellow.
- If you want to consume them over a week, choose the ones that are a pale green, so they ripen over the week slowly.
- Choose bananas they are firm to touch with intact stems and peels.
- Avoid bananas that have brown spots or bruises.A little brown spot is an indicator of ripeness or sweetness and is okay to choose, if consuming immediately.
How to store Bananas :
- Store them at room temperature, out of direct sunlight.
- Hanging them on a banana tree would prevent bruising.If you don’t have a banana tree, storing them in a bowl on your countertop would suffice.
- Detaching bananas from the bunch while storing hastens the ripening process, so do not detach, if you want them to ripen slowly.
- Wrapping the stems with plastic wrap helps to slow the ripening process.The release of ethylene gas is slowed down by wrapping the stems with plastic wrap.
- Store them next to unripened fruits, since this will help the other fruits ripen faster, while it slows down the ripening process of the bananas.
Health benefits of Bananas :
1. Bananas are one of the best fruit sources of vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 from bananas is easily absorbed by our body and a medium-sized banana can provide about a quarter of our daily vitamin B6 needs.
Vitamin B6 helps our body:
- produce red blood cells,
- metabolise carbohydrates and fats, turning them into energy,
- metabolise amino acids,
- remove unwanted chemicals from your liver and kidneys, and
- maintain a healthy nervous system.
Vitamin B6 is also good for pregnant women as it helps meet their baby’s development needs.
2. Bananas are respectable sources of vitamin C
They provide 10% of our daily vitamin C needs.
Vitamin C helps:
- protect our body against cell and tissue damage,
- our body absorb iron better,
- our body produce collagen – the protein which holds your skin, bones and body together, and
- support brain health by producing serotonin, a hormone that affects our sleep cycle, moods, and experiences of stress/ pain.
3. Manganese in bananas is good for our skin
One medium-sized banana provides approximately 13% of our daily manganese needs. Manganese helps our body make collagen and protects our skin and other cells against free radical damage.
4. Potassium in bananas is good for our heart health and blood pressure
A medium-sized banana will provide around 320-400 mg of potassium, which meets about 10% of our daily potassium needs.
Potassium helps our body maintain a healthy heart and blood pressure. In addition, bananas are low in sodium. The low sodium and high potassium combination helps to control high blood pressure.
5. Bananas can aid digestion and help beat gastrointestinal issues
A medium banana will provide about 10-12% of our daily fibre needs.
Soluble and insoluble fibers play an important role in our health. Soluble fibers helps our body control our blood sugar level and get rid of fatty substances such as cholesterol. Insoluble fibre adds weight and softness to stools, making it easier for us to have regular bowel movements. This helps to keep our gut healthy and safe from harmful bacteria.
Bananas, especially newly-ripened ones, contain starch that does not digest (resistant starch) in our small intestine and is able to pass into the large intestine. Such bananas help us manage our weight better as we stay full for longer.
Thus, bananas can help us beat gastrointestinal issues such as:
- stomach ulcers, and
6. Bananas give us energy – minus the fats and cholesterol
Bananas contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose – giving us a fat and cholesterol-free source of energy. Bananas are ideal, especially for children and athletes, for breakfast, as a midday snack or before and after sports.
How to prepare Bananas :
For more tips on ‘How to Choose, Store & Prepare’ Seasonal Produce, check out the links below to my blog posts about them, then you will never have to wonder if you picked the right veggies for the week’s cooking .
Here goes …….